[Graphic header] National Asian-Pacific Heritage Month, National Park Service.  See caption below
Clockwise from top right: Sunrise in Hawaii, Palm tree from Palau, Children in Micronesia, Petrogylph in Guam, House in Marshal Islands, historic photograph of sugar cane worker in Hawaii, site in Palau, two women weaving in American Samoa
Collage images courtesy of NPS, Guam and Palau Historic Preservation Offices, and Library of Congress [AEP-MIN73]. Photograph in bottom right corner of collage courtesy of Tim Rock/Double Blue Images, timrock@doubleblue.com
The National Register of Historic Places recongnizes the historical contributions of Asian and Pacific peoples in the United States and its associated territories. From the early 1800s to the late 20th century, Asian and Pacific peoples have played a vital role in the development of the United States and made lasting contributions in all elements of American society. The month of May is National Asian-Pacific Heritage Month. This year, as part of the recognition, we are showcasing the rich heritage of Micronesia by highlighting the islands' listed historic places. Join the National Register in commemorating just a few of the places where Asian and Pacific people have made history.

[graphic] Map of the Micronesia islands, showing their proximity to Hawaii and Australia[graphic text] Micronesia

In the western Pacific Ocean, straddled between the Philippines and Hawaii, some 2,100 islands are scattered over three million square miles. These islands make up the area known as Micronesia. Their total landmass is smaller than Rhode Island. The islands' unique landscapes, formed in part by volcanic activity and featuring coral atolls, rain forests, and colorful lagoons, fostered a world of exceptional cultures. Its geographic area has been strategically important to many nations in the past. The rich history reflects a panorama of societies buffeted for centuries by warring and trading nations of the east and west. Evidence indicates that the islands were first settled over 2,000 years ago. Vigorous and diverse cultures developed in each island group, linked by a far-flung network of trade and commerce conducted by intrepid voyagers in outrigger canoes.

Spanish sailors, including Magellan, were the first Europeans to explore Micronesia. The Marianas served as a stopping point for the famous Manila Galleon trade. They found inhabited islands rich in copra, sandalwood, turtle and pearl, schools of whales, and established colonies on many of the islands. The Spanish flag flew over the Northern Marianas and Guam beginning in the 1500s. In 1885 Germany took possession of the Marshall Islands (RMI), while Spain retained control of other island groups. By 1898, however, all of Spain's possessions had been sold to Germany, with the exception of Guam, which had been taken by the United States during the Spanish-American War. After Germany's defeat in World War I, Japan administered most of Micronesia under a new League of Nations mandate. Fierce battles between the Japanese and Allied Forces were fought on the islands during World War II. After the war, the United States administered much of Micronesia under United Nations auspices. The islands, except for Guam, Nauru and Kiribati (the latter two, members of the British Commonwealth), were known as the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

Today, Guam remains a territory of the United States. In the 1970s, citizens of the old Trust Territory organized four new governments: the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the RMI, and the Republic of Palau. Of these, the Marianas are an American Commonwealth and the other three are in a unique relationship with the United States known as "Free Association."

Above is an excerpt from "Micronesia—Preserving a Fragile Resource" by Patricia Luce Chapman, originally published in Volume 24 No. 01 of CRM.

[photo] Bai ra Irrai (Meeting House), Republic of Palau - just one of the many Micronesian historic places featured in honor of Asian-Pacific Heritage Month
Photograph courtesy of David Look

[graphic text] Featured Properties


Each major island group in Micronesia has sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Click on an island group below to discover its historic places:

Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI)
Republic of Palau

[graphic text] Publications

[Photo] Dai Loy Gambling Museum, Locke, California--
Highlighted in Locke and Walnut Grove lesson plan

Photograph by Jet Lowe, Historic American Buildings Survey

Teaching with Historic Places

This program offers a series of award-winning lesson plans that use places listed in the National Register to enliven the study of history, social studies, and geography. TwHP has two ready-to-use lesson plans, available for free downloading, that examine important aspects of Asian-Pacific history.

Locke and Walnut Grove:
Havens for Early Asian Immigrants in California

Understand the experience of early Asian immigrants and the obstacles they encountered as they struggled to make a living and find a place in American society.

Remembering Pearl Harbor: The USS Arizona Memorial
Trace the course of the Japanese surprise attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, and consider the significance of the sunken USS Arizona as a war memorial.

Travel Itineraries

Visit Seattle's International District (Chinatown), which combines Asian and Western architectural traditions into a uniquely American neighborhood.

[photo] American Memorial Park, located on the island of Saipan in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
NPS Photograph

[graphic text] History in the Parks


Pacific Islander Heritage
American Memorial Park
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Kalaupapa National Historical Park
Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park
National Park of American Samoa
Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park
Pu'ukohola Heiau National Historic Site
War in the Pacific National Historical Park

Asian American Heritage
Voyageurs National Park
Golden Spike National Historic Site
Manzanar National Historic Site

[graphic text] Learn More

Historic Resources Divison of Guam explains the mission of this government office, and provides information on news and events, and a virtual tour of the island's historic sites.

Government of Guam provides further information on Guam's historic and natural resources, as well as information on the government of this United States territory

Five Views: An Ethnic Historic Site Survey for California, is a publication of the California Parks and Recreation Department, which contains valuable information on the experience of Chinese Americans and Japanese Americans in the state.

Confinement and Ethnicity: An Overview of World War II Japanese American Relocation Sites
In 1942, almost 120,000 Japanese Americans were forced from their homes in California, western Oregon and Washington, and southern Arizona in the single largest forced relocation in U.S. history. Many would spend the next 3 years in one of ten "relocation centers" across the country run by the newly-formed War Relocation Authority (WRA). This report provides an overview of the physical remains left at the sites of the Japanese American relocation. The main focus is on the architectural remnants, the archeological features, and the artifacts remaining at the relocation centers where Japanese Americans were held during World War II.

"CRM" is the flagship publication of the NPs Cultural Resources Stewardship and Partnership Programs and contains articles on the full range of cultural resources management and preservation topics. The following issues deal directly with questions regarding Asian and Pacific Islands cultural resources.

National Register Information System
Since its inception in 1966, nearly 73,000 properties have been listed in the National Register. Together these files hold information on nearly one million individual resources--buildings, sites, districts, structures, and objects--and therefore provide a link to the country's heritage at the national, state, and local levels. Search by name, location, agency, or theme to locate National Register properties associated with Asian-Pacific history.

Library of Congress: Built in America (HABS/HAER)
The Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) collections document achievements in architecture, engineering, and design in the United States through a comprehensive range of building types and engineering technologies, including sites related to Asian-Pacific history and culture. Searches on keywords like "Japanese," "Chinese," or "World War II" will provide information on an array of associated sites. Most of the site records have publication-quality drawings, photographs and historical data. Of special interest are the following properties: the Chee Kung Tong Society in Hawaii, the Joe Shoong Chinese School, and the Chinese Joss House in California.

Asian-Pacific Heritage Month 1999 and Asian-Pacific Heritage Month 2000
For more information about Asian-Pacific properties listed in the National Register, please visit these past features.

National Register Home
Comments or Questions


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